Bengaluru to Trichy: Sri Renganathan AC Sleeper

Trichy is a city in Tamil Nadu, that I have never been to. I wanted to go there, but an opportunity never came. The opportunity came there in the form of a brochure - a brochure for a four-day workshop at a medical college in Trichy. I was excited about the event, and applied without much ado. A colleague from my department also applied for the event. We did not book our onwards ticket until we got the confirmation - but our return tickets were booked (not exactly return, but we were heading to our hometowns from Trichy) since we were traveling right before Christmas.

The confirmation for our event came in about a month (a little less than a month, actually) before the event. We had to reach Trichy the previous evening - and hence decided to book on a day service. There weren't too many options - and picking one was made easy. I decided to book on Shri Renganathan Travels AC Sleeper - since two of us were traveling, I booked on a lower double berth - I realized a folly in this much later. The sun would be on our window for more than half the journey!

December 17, 2019:
It was a busy morning at work. The bus was to depart from Kalasipalya at 1330hrs - we had to leave from office by 1200hrs. Due to work demand, we had to leave a little later. Both of us had fairly good amount of luggage - we were traveling for a four day long workshop and had to carry enough clothes to cover these days. We hired a Uber to get to Kalasipalya - the ride took about 25 minutes. The driver dropped me right outside the travel agency that handled this operator at Kalasipalya. We left our bags at the office and headed out to have something, and carry some biscuits and water bottle for the journey.

We headed to a nearby bakery and had some light snacks, since we decided to have lunch at the place where the bus stops for lunch. We returned to the office after we picked our stock of snacks for the journey. Kalasipalya is dry at this point of time - its mostly arrivals from Mumbai, and a handful of departures to Tamil Nadu. It was a little too hot inside the office - I remained outdoors for most of the time. The guy at the office was continuously tracking the movements of the bus through phone. At a little past 1315hrs, the guy at the office requested us to walk a little, till the bus station circle, so that the bus could depart early without getting stuck in traffic. Roads in the area were being white-topped and this was sure to delay the bus. Although we had bags, we agreed to walk till the bus.
The bus - NL-01-B-1821

The arrived exactly at 1320hrs - 10 minutes before departure time. It seemed we were the only passengers boarding there - our bags were placed in the luggage hold, and we got moving by 1325hrs. Inside the bus, I was awestruck by the interiors. The seats had individual back rests, and the interiors were premium. There were LED screens at every berth (shared ones for the double berths). Pillows were provided, but blankets were absent. The interiors followed the new 'Capella' theme. We slowly crawled through the city towards Madiwala. We passed Shantinagar at 1338hrs - we didn't stop though. I was expecting terrible traffic after Dairy Circle - but that wasn't the case. We didn't encounter much traffic around Madiwala either - we passed St. Johns, and quickly went through Madiwala market as well. We got to Madiwala police station bus stop by 1402hrs - most of the passengers joined here.

We started from here at 1405hrs. We took the elevated highway, and rushed towards Electronic City. We stopped at the toll gate at 1419hrs, picked passengers and quickly started off (1420hrs). Traffic was light after Electronic City - we light that we got to Hosur by 1448hrs. The bus stopped near the starting of Hosur flyover for quite a while - one passenger joined after the long wait, and we got moving by 1459hrs. We had all of 7 passengers on board - a quick back of the envelope calculation showed that the fare paid by 7 passengers wouldn't even cover operating expenses of the bus! I was slowly getting hungry - and I was fairly tired as well. The bus pulled over for lunch at a hotel after Chinnar, at 1529hrs. The placed seemed new - the dining hall was clean, so were the restrooms. A late lunch later, we got moving by 1605hrs.
Inside the bus. 

I tuned in to a movie on my phone soon after departure from the hotel - I watched a movie for sometime, and dozed off sometime in between. I briefly woke up as the bus stopped at Salem to drop passengers (roughly around 1830hrs). I continued sleeping for a while more. I woke up just as the bus exited the highway, and entered a town. The bus stopped a while later to drop passengers - we were in Namakkal, and the time was 1921hrs. It was a quick drop, and we were off soon later. I didn't sleep after this - the bus had entered a two laned road, and the road seemed quite narrow as well. I continued watching the movie on my phone as the bus rushed towards Trichy. The bus took the route via Kulithalai. I was continuously tuned to the map as we neared Trichy. We finally got to Chathram bus stand, Trichy, by 2104hrs. We were dropped about half a kilometre before Chathram - the crew helped us with the route to the bus station.

Remarks: The bus, NL-01-B-1821 had clocked about 12900kms - it was pretty new and well kept. The interiors still had plastic covers on. The crew were great - cordial, and no-nonsense. The driver helped us enough information for us to get to our destination in Trichy. I missed a Blanket during the journey, but the pillow helped the day a bit. It was overall a journey that I liked.

Amenities:
Blanket: No
Pillow: Yes
Water: No
Snacks: No
Charging Point: Available, worked
Entertainment: Available, not used.

Ratings:
Maintenance: 5/5
Cleanliness: 5/5
Driving: 5/5
Crew behaviour: 5/5
Punctuality: 4.5/5 [About 30 minutes late]

Overall: 4.95/5

Pros: VFM, Good Driving, Great crew
Cons: A blanket needed!

Will I take this service again? Sure!

Comments

Arun said…
Sri Renganathan travels is a popular and reputed operator in that region. They recently connected KA like few other delta region operators. A sector that was monopolized by KPN in the day time has bow got an alternative!!. Hope they do well. For night travel, I dont think there is anyone who as on date is able to match the "pricey" KSRTC in terms of service and timings. This operator launched shortly after I did a trip.
Sunup said…
Would the same bus be returning to Bangalore as the night service? Like how one of our Kerala based operator does it with their Diya AC seater bus? Day service from Ernakulam to Bangalore and the same bus returns for the Bangalore>Ernakulam night trip. "Heavy" bus utilization.
Binai K Sankar said…
Yes. Same bus returns. Kallada has been running their ernakulam bus day night since a Decade now.

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